Sunday, December 31, 2006

It was Fifteen Years Ago Today | by Jay

I was but a senior in college, lost somewhere in the maze of the French Quarter on New Year's Eve.

I remember having driven down from St. Louis over Christmas break, and crashing with a dozen other buddies in a Travelodge that was across the river in a very shady part of town. I remember drinking hurricanes, and buying hand grenades from a vendor who had set up a makeshift bar in a first-story window on the street, and later that night, trying a couple of "whippets" from a guy who carried them in a wooden box with a strap around his shoulders, like the cigarette girls from the 1920s. I remember everywhere, people drinking in the streets, and dancing, and passing out, and Florida fans coming up to random Irishmen, doing a Gator "chomp" in their faces, and ND fans simply laughing and drinking some more. I remember two policemen sitting on the hood of their patrol car, chuckling at the debauchery moving past them, just watching it all go by. I remember standing with Brian and Alf and Scott in the courtyard of Pat O'Brien's knocking back hurricanes, sufficiently hammered and trying to figure out how they got a ring of fire to stay lit in the middle of a fountain. I remember jumping the line at Preservation Hall to join up with some friends, and getting asked to leave because we kept interrupting the music. I remember us trying to make our way to Jackson Square to catch the fireworks, and getting stuck in the crowds about a block away, and instead ducking into another bar for more drinks. I remember a hazy countdown, and someone spraying champagne, and kissing a girl at midnight whom I vaguely knew. I think she lived in Lyons.

I remember the Irish having no chance the next day, and I didn't care, because it was a new year, and I was young and drunk and in love, and I was surrounded by friends on Bourbon Street.